While everyone should seek preventative health care services, they are especially important for older people. Senior wellness examinations can help prevent certain illnesses and may slow the progression of existing health problems. Here are some tests that may be included in your senior wellness physical examination.
Blood Lipid Profile
Your total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels are included in a blood lipid profile. Monitoring these blood fats is especially important to seniors because cardiovascular disease and stroke are more common as people age.
High cholesterol is considered a risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, but high low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) may be more of a risk factor than high total cholesterol levels. If you or your senior loved one has an abnormal lipid profile, consuming a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight may help improve your levels.
If these interventions fail to normalize your blood lipids, your doctor may recommend drugs called statins to help. Statin medications can lower total cholesterol and LDL levels while increasing high-density lipoproteins, also called HDLs. High-density lipoproteins may help keep your heart healthy and lower your risk for strokes.
Blood Pressure Screenings
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is another major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. Getting a simple blood pressure check can help determine if you or your senior loved one has hypertension.
Hypertension is typically very responsive to lifestyle changes. For example, losing weight, getting plenty of exercise, limiting your intake of alcohol, and not smoking can dramatically lower your blood pressure.
If lifestyle changes fail to help lower your blood pressure, antihypertensive medications such as beta-blockers and diuretics may be recommended. Once hypertension is well-managed, the risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, and stroke may be greatly reduced.
High blood pressure rarely causes symptoms unless it becomes exceedingly high, and even then, symptoms such as headaches and nosebleeds may be mistaken for other, less serious causes. Because of its lack of symptoms, the only way to tell if you have hypertension is to get your blood pressure checked.
Talk to your healthcare provider about getting a blood lipid profile test and getting your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. When you and your aging loved ones are proactive with your senior wellness examinations, serious medical conditions may be less likely to progress into more serious health problems.